A Letter from Ellen Saunders Duncan, Youth Coordinator

It is with very mixed feelings – joy, sadness, trepidation, hope – that I’m sharing that I will be leaving Colorado this summer and moving (back) to the East Coast. I have enjoyed working at UUCB in all of the different roles I’ve had – Campus Ministry, Bridge DRE and now Youth Coordinator. I am grateful for the opportunities over this last year to build relationships with the youth and figure out how to make the world a better place in our small corner of the universe.


As you might know, for the 2018-19 church year I am serving as the Religious Education Coordinator for BVUUF and the Youth Coordinator for both congregations. The BVUUF RE Coordinator job was intended to end this summer with the hiring of a new Director of Lifespan Faith Formation there, but the intention was that I would continue on in the joint Youth Coordinator role.


For all the joy and sense of purpose I’ve found here – working amazing jobs in warm, strong Unitarian Universalist congregations, meeting and falling in love with my partner Sam Fenzel-Alexander (a longtime member of UUCB!), becoming a certified Rolfer and studying to become a yoga teacher, meeting wonderful folks all along the way – Colorado is not my home. I’ve been homesick for much of the time I’ve lived here, and it is time for me to move to a place where my roots are. Sam and I will be moving this summer to my grandparents’ former home in Tidewater Virginia. We’re excited to transform the garden there using permaculture values and techniques. I’m thrilled to live near water again – to explore swamps and the beach, to go sailing and kayaking on the river, to have a relationship again with my first love, humidity. We’re each going to build our careers there – Sam as a public school science teacher, and me as a Rolfer, yoga teacher, and hopefully also a UU religious professional.


I am working with Rev. Dana and Rev. Lydia from BVUUF to figure out the logistics and process for hiring a new Youth Coordinator. The position will continue to be shared with BVUUF, and our hope is that having a person in this role who doesn’t have another church job will make it possible to have Sunday morning youth programming for each congregation in addition to the shared HS Youth Group, Coming of Age, and Our Whole Lives (OWL) programs that have happened this year. The hiring process for the Youth Coordinator role will take place beginning in late April, with the new person starting in August. It is my intention to have youth programming for next year figured out before I leave, with volunteers committed to various classes and other details settled, so that my successor is able to hit the ground running.


I want to underline that I’ve loved connecting with the youth at UUCB and feel grateful to have found meaningful work in this community. Please know that I will do my very best to support folks – particularly youth – through this change. My metaphorical door (my email inbox – youthcoordinator@bvuuf.org) is always open if you’d like to talk further; I’m also glad to set up a time to talk in person or on the phone. If you’d like to have a conversation about this transition with someone other than me, please get in touch with Rev. Dana (secondministeruucb@gmail.com).